Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture

History and Culture

historic photo of Tatoosh Island
The Cape Flattery Lighthouse on Tatoosh Island was first lit in 1857.
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary occupies a maritime cultural landscape that has supported humans from time immemorial. Stories, songs, place-names, maps, histories and the remnant traces - ancient villages, shipwrecks, lighthouses – persist as reminders of the many human connections to this corner of the ocean. Recognizing those connections honors the people themselves, no matter at what point in time they gazed across these waters and shores. It keeps those stories alive to inform us about the human story over time. It reaffirms a fundamental connection between a bountiful ecosystem and people.

One of our missions is to protect those irreplaceable legacies and to understand what they teach us about ecological change and sustaining our timeless dependence on the ocean, for food, mobility and inspiration.

Our historic preservation mandate comes from the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)image indicates link leaves this site, which applies to all federal agencies. The NHPA requires us to consider all impacts to historic resources that result from our work and our decisions. It also requires us to consult closely with others - states, tribes, other agencies historical organizations who have a stake in protecting our historic and cultural heritage.

photo of a canoe in the 2010 Tribal Journey
Cedar canoes are vital to Northwestern coastal tribe culture.
Many aspects of native culture are part of day to day living in Olympic Coast reservation communities. We work closely with the Quinault Indian Nation, the Hoh Tribe, Quileute Tribe and Makah Tribe in areas of mutual interest. We recognize and respect the long-standing relationship that the tribes have with the marine environment they depend on.

photo of a shipwreck along coast
More than 150 shipwwrecks have been documented on the Olympic Coast.
Ships from other places have found their way to the Olympic Coast for centuries. Drifting junks from Asia; explorers from European empires; sailing ships and steamships engaged in trade; warships; freighters, passenger ships and tankers. Unfortunately, the rugged Olympic Coast has claimed many of them as shipwrecks. Learn more about some of our more famous - and infamous - shipwrecks.

The area now included in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary has a rich past in shaping history. From early exploration by Spanish, English, Russian and American seafarers the modern era of World War II and the rise of Pacific Rim trade, the Olympic Coast has been a gateway.



Contact for page content: George Galasso
Photo of peach coral
Revised January 07, 2016 by Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary   |    Contact Us   |    Report a broken link  |
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